“Thank you, Marcia. You make me feel so brave!”

I’m Marcia Hoeck, and I take the scary out of running a small business, for values-based creative business owners like you — I fill in with the stuff you didn’t learn in school. The quote above is from one of my clients. [Read the full article.…]

How to Let Go

by Marcia Hoeck on August 15, 2014

Screen shot 2014-08-14 at 10.46.33 PM
Photo: Camdiluv

Ahhh . . . letting go. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But, chances are, you can’t do it.

When you run a business, your name is on the door. You are responsible. Things have to get done right, and that means you have to do everything—correct? Even if it means staying up all night four nights in a row. Even if it means missing every family function. Even if it means driving your spouse crazy because he never sees you and you feel guilty about the time you spend (or don’t) with the kids.

You can’t let go.

You know something’s not quite right with this. But you also know what I’m talking about, because you do it, don’t you? It’s hard to let go.

In the beginning of your business, this sounded exciting. Whatever it takes, right? I’m an entrepreneur! I’m running my own show, I get to decide!

And it WAS exciting, damn it. But after a few months—or a few years—you can wear yourself out. You can burn yourself out. And pretty soon, it doesn’t feel so exciting anymore. It feels difficult and draining, and you know something’s going to burst at the seams pretty soon, and you sure hope it’s not you.

Maybe you’ve tried delegating. Maybe to contractors, freelancers, or maybe to staff—maybe you have many amazing people you can hand things off to. But whether you work by yourself or have a whole slew of employees, it still comes back to the same thing—no one is in your brain.

No one is in your brain

No one can do what you do. No one will be able to satisfy your clients, and your own demanding self, the way you can, so you still end up doing monumental parts of projects yourself, and tying yourself in knots along the way. There’s no time for planning or working “on” the business because you’re constantly working “in” the business, and whether you’re scraping nickels together or whether you’re wildly successful, the problem just keeps getting worse. Uh huh.

You’re overwhelmed and overworked. You wish you could just let go, and that things would still miraculously get done in wondrous ways that clients love and [Read the full article.…]

Nervous womanIn my experience, confidence is the most important attribute you can have in business. There is nothing more important than confidence, and I’m sure you have figured this out if you present to clients to win work. Clients watch you very carefully, and they view a lack of confidence as a lack of competence.

I’m going to say that again because it’s really important: Clients view a lack of confidence as a lack of competence.

Clients think you can’t do the job if you can’t stand in front of them and grab their attention with your passion, conviction, and firm belief in the work you do. Now I’m sure you’ve seen this to be true. You’ve been in situations where you’ve bid on a job against a slick account exec or someone who shows amazing confidence in their presentation style. And maybe you know that this person’s agency isn’t right for the project or their firm just can’t pull it off as well as you can. But just because this person shows a lot of presence and confidence and they wow the client, they get the work.

(And then later on you find out they got fired or they couldn’t give the client what they needed—you knew all along you were a better fit for this client. They were ‘faking it’ but ‘making it’ didn’t work out so well.) But you didn’t show the confidence that this person/agency did, and you can’t really blame the client for choosing them. The client couldn’t tell you were the right firm for the job, because you didn’t show them. And this happens all the time. 

And maybe you’ve tried this ‘faking it till you make it’ thing, like I did. And it made you feel so fakey and icky and salesy and inauthentic and awful, and it went against every creative bone in your body, so you’re not going to do that anymore, ever.

So what can you do? [Read the full article.…]

GeorgeClooney1This week, while on a coaching call with a client, he asked a question I’ve only been asked a handful of times before. But the answer to his question, I realized later, is the answer to so many questions about business.

And relationships. And just life in general.

Mark asked me, “What do you think is the one thing you’ve done that is responsible for your success?”

The first thing I thought of was George Clooney. (I like to think of George Clooney, but it’s not what you think.)

I recently saw an interview with a young actor. When asked a similar question about his career, the actor replied, “George Clooney gave me the best advice I’ve ever gotten. He said, ‘Don’t ever let me see you acting.’”

Light bulb.

“Don’t ever let me see you acting.”

“Don’t ever let me see you selling.”

“Don’t ever let me see you pushing your [Read the full article.…]

How to Overcome Sales Reluctance

February 17, 2014

Sometimes, as business owners, we feel icky about having to sell. We don’t like the fact that we have to sell or market or talk about what makes what we offer so wonderful.
That’s so much like bragging, and didn’t your mother tell you not to brag?
We don’t like being sold to and don’t [...]

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What’s Your Most Important Business Objective?

January 16, 2014

I was responding to a client’s e-coaching question yesterday about setting up structure and systems in her business, and where to start.
She’s knee deep in many things, and has a lot of areas of her business that she wants to pull together.
Instead of jumping in and beginning to prioritize her list of wants, [...]

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Branding Workshop for Designers

January 6, 2014
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There are still a few seats left!
If you’re looking for a way to bring more revenue into your design or marketing communications firm, work with higher level clients, and be valued more for your work, this workshop is for you.
Join us, branding experts Marcia Hoeck and Ed Roach, for a live, in-person 2-day [...]

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Three Ways to Sell Branding

January 5, 2014

Some of the questions Ed Roach and I are asked the most by designers about our branding process revolve around actually selling branding. They ask us,
“How do you sell branding?”
“What kind of pitch do you use?”
“How do you find the clients who are interested and will pay what branding’s worth?” and
“How do I [...]

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I Only Do This Once a Year

November 29, 2013

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in the US, and I’m spending the holiday weekend with my son and his family. Right now I’m sitting in front of a warm fire, watching cartoons with my grandkids. If you celebrate Thanksgiving this weekend, I hope you’re having a warm and wonderful holiday.
And, in honor of the Black Friday shopping [...]

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Think You Might Have ADHD?

November 2, 2013

Some of the most creative people in the world do, you know.
Successful business owners like Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Airlines; Ingvar Kamprad, Swedish Founder and Chairman of IKEA stores; David Neeleman, Founder and CEO of Jet Blue Airways; and Paul Orfalea, the Founder and Chairperson of Kinkos all have ADHD and are incredibly [...]

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Four Ways to Solve the Problem of “Too Much Work”

October 27, 2013

Sure. It looks good from the outside. Instead of having to scrap and claw for projects, somehow – and often you don’t know how it happens – you just have too much work.
You know you should be appreciative, and you are, but it’s also very frustrating and stressful to be so busy that [...]

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The Un-Icky Way to Set Fees and Get Paid What You’re Worth — According to Newton’s Third Law

October 5, 2013

I know. You don’t like to talk about your money. And you don’t like to look at it, either. It’s so much easier to try to figure out ways to make more money than it is to peek at your business finances, to get the picture of whether or not you’re actually profitable. [...]

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The Zen of Bad Internet and Crappy Phones — or, How to Do Nothing

August 23, 2013

The plan was to get up early to kayak before I started working, when the sun was just peeking over the edge of the lake. What actually happened was I woke up well past “early” to the annoyed bark of a wiener dog, finally tired of waiting sweetly for her breakfast.
“Get up already,” [...]

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How to Stop Wasting Time

July 24, 2013

I saw a statistic this morning that the average person wastes fully one-third of their work day – one-third! And that’s before you take into consideration that the remaining two-thirds can’t be entirely billable or income producing. Once you do get focused on work, a good portion of that remaining time will be [...]

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How to Move Forward Faster by Being Better at Making Decisions

July 9, 2013

You’re careful in your business, because you’re serious about it. You weigh things meticulously before making decisions, or maybe you even agonize over decisions, putting them off until you have just the right and perfect answer. And you probably think you’re doing the right thing.
But that caution in decision-making may be precisely what’s [...]

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Are You Serious About Making Progress in Your Business?

June 26, 2013

My Success Club is Now Open!

The Success Club & Mastermind program is a 6-month program specifically designed to propel you and your creative business to the level you’ve always wanted it to go, presented by Marcia Hoeck.

From the priceless gems of what works for running a values-based creative business to the latest and most effective [...]

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How Not Being Perfect Helped Me Serve My Clients

June 22, 2013


I just held two live client events in six weeks. And while both events were fabulous and wonderful and successful and invigorating and I wouldn’t change a dang thing about either of them (well, maybe next time) . . . it was not only difficult, it was absolutely crazy.
It sounded like a good [...]

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How to Succeed in Business in 12 Easy Steps

May 29, 2013

Step #1: Love to do something
Find something to do that you love so much you can’t tear yourself away from it. Do it all day and into the wee hours of the night. Get so excited about it that you can’t keep yourself from talking to everyone you know – and lots of people [...]

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What I’ve Learned from 28 Years in Business

May 25, 2013


I have learned a lot during the 25 years that I owned my marketing communications firm, and during the 3 years I’ve been coaching and consulting with creative business owners.
I learned a lot about my clients, my business, and myself.
About my clients, I learned that:
• Everyone is afraid in one way or another. [...]

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How to Be Effectively Productive

May 13, 2013

One of the biggest challenges we face as business owners is spending our time well. After you go to the trouble of learning how to create time, you want to make sure you’re making the best use of it. And you know as the captain of your own ship, how you spend your [...]

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How to Create Time

April 2, 2013
Albert Einstein


This post was originally posted in my blog on March 2, 2011. 
Now this is the ultimate time management system: becoming the source of your own time and making as much of it as you want. It’s something I’m working on, right now.
I can create time.
I’m actually creating time as I write this, and [...]

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Announcing My LIVE 3-Day Retreat June 10 – 12

March 22, 2013


Announcing my LIVE 3-day retreat in historic midtown Detroit, Michigan:

June 10 – 12, 2013
Learn more about my LIVE Retreat
In 3 short days, you’ll build your business courage, confidence, and influence in an intimate, business & mindset strengthening experience with me and a small circle of creative, committed, and interesting business owners like you.
We’ll be rolling [...]

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“But Marcia, I Just Want to Make More Money”

March 2, 2013


This is something I hear sometimes from business owners when I talk about confidence challenges, or not having the right clients because of a confidence challenge: “But I love my clients! And I don’t have a problem with my confidence — I just wish they’d pay me more. I don’t seem to be able [...]

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Ditch Your Elevator Speech

January 28, 2013

Parts of this article originally ran in Parse, a blog presented by HOW magazine.
There you go, walking into that business networking event, hoping to meet people you can impress, but knowing that when anyone asks what you do, you’re going to totally underwhelm them.
And you’re going to say something really lame that ends [...]

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